Embracing Diversity for Connection and Growth at University

Luli Adeyemo’s perspective presenting at the ACU (Australian Catholic University) Speaker Series 

I was thrilled to present at the ACU Speaker Series, where I ventured to weave a different narrative — a narrative that’s as old as humanity itself — the quest for connection through the lens of inclusion. 

The quest for connection, underpinned by a journey of inclusion.

Luli Adeyemo at ACU grounds

It’s said that one of the quintessential challenges of university life is finding your tribe, carving out a space where you belong, not so different from workforces within organisations.

While I was preparing for this event, I found some advice on a student website that suggested joining clubs or organisations that align with interests to meet like-minded individuals and foster friendships. (source)

Well, I wanted to stretch that notion, to invite my audience of students to venture beyond the comfort of the familiar. I encouraged them to seek out those who aren’t reflections of them but are windows into diverse worlds.

I was there to challenge that often difficult hurdle that very core of how we seek connection.

I urged students to venture beyond, to seek out those who offer a glimpse into diverse worlds. This step beyond the familiar is the step into the richness that diversity brings — a theme I often discuss in the tech industry regarding leveraging Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) for business success. This, I believe, is equally applicable to personal growth and well-being. 

I emphasised connections you make at University can be enduring, with the potential to influence not just your university days but your entire career, creating a ripple effect that touches every life you encounter, every community you become a part of.

While it’s comforting to gravitate towards the familiar, there’s an untapped wealth in the unfamiliar—the people who challenge our perspectives, push our boundaries, and enrich our understanding.

I took them on a journey, one that perhaps will mirror their own with twists and turns shaped by those you least expected but influence you.  I spoke about the journey of embracing the tapestry of humanity — those not like us — is the essence of strength. It’s a narrative I’ve lived personally –  from the colorful streets of Newark-on-Trent to the diverse pitches of Queens Park Rangers and the enlightening panels discussing technology and creativity, such as the Marvel Studios’ ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ event, where I spoke on the superpowers of women in the industry. 

I shared how moments of not belonging can be the catalysts for change and how they’ve shaped my understanding and growth. 

I presented compelling statistics on the rise of international students and the notable increase in representation across various backgrounds in Australian universities. We discussed the power of language and its role as a gateway or barrier to inclusion. The need for accessible language was emphasised.

From what I have researched about ACU I understand that it embodies principles – fostering an environment where every student is part of a vibrant community, learning from each other’s unique stories.

True belonging is when we engage with the full spectrum of perspectives, cultures, and ideas—enriching our own understanding and contributing to a world where ‘like me’ evolves into ‘like us’, diverse and united.

In closing, I invited everyone to be part of the broader transformation towards inclusivity and fairness. Our interactions, our team collaborations, and our embrace of multicultural environments are what will shape our future. This journey, is one we all embark on together, and it is my hope that the insights from the ACU Speaker Series will inspire students to embrace the diversity that surrounds them, for it is within this mosaic of experiences and viewpoints that we unlock the key to a more inclusive and dynamic future. 

#ACUSpeakerSeries #DiversityAndInclusion #QuestForConnection #EmbracingDiversity #PersonalGrowth #StrengthInDiversity 

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